Day four of rehearsals dawned bright and sunny, as had been the norm all week long. By 9am the Main Street in Sheridan’s Falls was already filling up with tourists and teenagers, all of the scantily dressed for the hot day to come. Dressed in her “show blacks” because Trudy was taking her picture today for the front-of-house photos, Mackenzie attracted more than a few quizzical stares as she walked down the main street towards the theatre, coffee in one hand, her stage management toolkit in the other.
“You’re a smoke short of finally looking like a real techie,” joked Steven, who was sitting on the front steps of the theatre having a smoke. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, both covered with dirt and paint from the shop.
“So how’s the stage managing workin’ out for you?”
“It’s okay, I guess. I never know what the next thing will be that I’m supposed to already know, but I think I’m staying ahead of things.
“That’s good. That’s very good. And you’re sure you’ll be needed today?”
“According to this CTA thing I’m technically not allowed to not be here.”
And with that Steven tossed the rest of his smoke onto the street and went inside. Mackenzie followed, but went straight into the auditorium to get ready for the day. She double-checked her preset from the night before, set the running props and food props that couldn’t be put out beforehand, made the coffee, changed the jug on the water cooler and had just finished tidying up the production desk when the actors walked in. They made some small talk, and then some more.
Mackenzie looked down at her watch. Ten after. Where was Frank?
The actors began to look concerned.
“I’ll go and see if I can find him. Marlene probably needs something signed.”
Mackenzie went out to the box office, and found Marlene busily working alone, processing the online ticket orders while marking off a section of the auditorium for a large bus tour audience.
“Trudy will be in to do pictures at 2pm, just like you scheduled,” she said without looking up. “I don’t want another fiasco with the union like last time.
“Actually I’m looking for Frank. It’s ten after and I haven’t seen him since I got here this morning. The actors are starting to wonder where he is.”
“He’s in a meeting with Steven. Probably forgot the time. Just go and knock on his –
At that moment Frank’s voice rumbled through the entire theatre. It was muffled, but unmistakably his. Just then the door to Frank’s office upstairs opened, and Steven came out, almost running. Frank came after him.
“And I don’t want any more *#!$ing excuses! This is un-professional! You and Juan had better get your )*&^%^ together and get this $#@*ing thing built before Sunday or I’m going to cut you a new *&^%*^%%&!!!!”
By now Steven was at the door, and almost ran over Trudy as she walked in. Frank came down the stairs.
“What!” he screamed at Mackenzie as she came over to him.
“Uh, we’re ready. Everyone’s here.”
“Tell the kids I’ll be right in.”
Mackenzie was shaking as she made her way back to the auditorium. She’d never seen Frank that mad before. It was a different kind of angry, not the usual surly growling but a more dangerous, explosive sort of rage. Yet, it sounded to her as if it were a controlled rage, as if he was calculating just how mad to get. Luckily the actors had heard his outburst too, so Mackenzie didn’t have to explain anything.
It wasn’t until after lunch when Trudy was taking pictures that Frank told the cast what had happened.
“Steven and Juan are having some trouble finishing the set.”
The actors wanted to know what kind of trouble – Frank replied the kind of trouble that gets fixed by a good swift kick in the butt, which is exactly what Steven had gotten this morning. The actors thought this was funny, and nothing more was said about it.
After an afternoon that Mackenzie thought would never end there wound up being a ton of prop and costume notes for her to do, and it wasn’t until around 8 o’clock that she finally finished cleaning up and getting set for the next day. True to form, Bret strolled in just as she was finishing sweeping the stage, and Mackenzie half-wondered, half-hoped, that he had been waiting for her and watching her in the darkness of the auditorium.
“So was I right about the set, Macky?”
“Yeah, you were right, but I don’t know the details. Frank screamed out Steven this morning, and then told us at lunch that they were “having trouble” with the set, but that Frank’s yelling had fixed it.”
“Well, it might,” Bret conceded. “But I don’t think Steven and Juan will be out of the woods just yet. If I know those two, the ‘trouble’ they were having with the set was probably called a pint of draught, or perhaps Mary Jane.”
“Never mind, kiddo. I’d say we should go over there and help them, but maybe it would be better if you got some rest, ‘cause I think tomorrow Steven is going to want you to do some of the painting.”
“Because he and Juan don’t like painting, and they’re likely going to pull an all-nighter tonight to get this done. Bring a change of clothes with you tomorrow and after rehearsal you and I will go, finish the set, and get it painted.”
“But I don’t know the first thing about set painting! Or set building for that matter.”
“It’s easy, as long as you’re not hung over and you actually stick at it. Tell your folks that you probably won’t be home tomorrow night, or the next, or for the next week for that matter. Once they load-in you’ll probably be here straight through.”